Colorado Car Accident Laws & Resources
If you were injured in a car accident in Colorado, you’ve come to the right place. Below we’ll cover Colorado car accident laws that will affect your auto accident lawsuit, claim or settlement. We cover how long you’ll have to file a lawsuit in Colorado and how the law effects how much money you’ll get paid whether you are partially at fault or not at all.
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Colorado Statute Of Limitations For Auto Accident Injuries
If you are injured in a car accident in Colorado, you have three years to to file an injury lawsuit.
It is different if you file a claim versus a lawsuit. For lawsuits the three years is firm. For claims though you will want to file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. This will help protect rights and give you adequate time to look into the details of the accident and try to reach a settlement. If negotiations don’t result in a settlement, you are still able to file a lawsuit. It’s also a helpful negotiating tactic to have during these conversations.
Colorado Accident Settlement Taxes
Personal injury settlements in Colorado can be very large; in some cases, they can be more than six or seven figures! Everyone knows the federal and state governments love to tax large lump sums of money. Thus you must wonder if your settlement is taxable income at the federal and Colorado state levels. Normally, this income is not taxable as income. But there are exceptions that you should be aware of, and you may need to consult with a tax advisor to be certain.
Section (104) (a) (s) of the IRS code prohibits the taxation of money that is received for personal injury lawsuits. But there is an exception in place for punitive damages. Punitive damages are big sums that can be awarded to you to punish the defendant. This money is taxable at the federal and state levels.
A part of your personal injury settlement is intended to cover medical expenses and lost wages. This is known as compensatory wages. The US and state government recognizes this money as compensation for pain and suffering from the accident. It is not taxable.
Compensation for damages to your vehicle is recognized as non-taxable at the federal and Colorado levels. But damages that are marked specifically as lost wages can be taxed. This is because the money that you get is meant to pay for lost wages that would have been taxed anyway.
Compensatory damages that are not usually subject to taxation are usually for physical injury, illness and property damage. If you are suing for emotional distress only, this income can be taxed. But it cannot be taxed if it is related to a physical injury. For instance, if you lose your leg in a car accident and are depressed, you can recover non-taxable damages in a lawsuit for your pain and emotional suffering.
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Colorado Car Accident Laws “Modified Comparative Fault” Rules. What is it?
If you can’t reach a settlement for your car accident with the driver and his insurance company, you should consider filing a lawsuit. You would be seeking compensation for medical bills, car damage and any additional costs that were brought on from the accident. The lawsuit will definitely state that you believe the accident was caused by the other driver, also known as the defendant.
If it can be proven the other driver was at fault, a fender bender for example, you may be entitled to all damages. This is considered no doubt liability and should be pretty straight forward.
If, however you were partially at fault, Colorado will use it’s ‘modified comparative fault’ rule to determine how at fault each party is. Under this law your compensation will be deducted by the percentage at fault the jury or judge decides is yours. Let’s walk through an example.
Suppose you’ve been in a car accident and been injured. The total cost of lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering and everything is else determined to be a total of $100,000.
During the lawsuit however the judge determines that 20 percent of the crash was you fault. Under Colorado’s modified comparative negligence rule, you would receive only $80,000 of the $100,000 in damages. The way the math works for this is that the $100,000 is divided by 20%, or $20,000, and the money received is reduced by this amount. This changes as soon as it’s determined you were over 50% at fault at which case Colorado law states you will receive $0 in damages.
It’s important to keep this in mind when negotiating an auto accident settlement in Colorado to make sure you get the most money possible.
Other Rules regarding Colorado Car Accidents Laws
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Colorado Small Claims
Colorado Car Accident Statute of Limitations
You will have 3 years from the date of injury.
Colorado Car Accidents Involving Government Vehicles
In Colorado, injuries obtained by government vehicles have separate rules. In these cases, you typically have only 6 months to file a claim over the incident. You will need to contact the appropriate local or state government agency involved in your accident and inquire about how the claim process will work.
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